Philly advises residents to avoid large events after city’s first COVID-19 case

Thomas Farley, Philadelphia health commissioner, said the first confirmed patient in Philadelphia is receiving treatment at home during a press conference Tuesday.

(Center) Darrell Clarke, Philadelphia City Council president who represents the Fifth District, speaks at a press conference about the first COVID-19 case in Philadelphia at City Hall on March 10. | VALERIE DOWRET / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The first confirmed  COVID-19 patient in Philadelphia is receiving treatment at home, said Thomas Farley, Philadelphia’s health commissioner, at a press conference on Tuesday.

Philadelphia reported its first confirmed COVID-29 case on Tuesday. In the state, there are 12 presumed positive COVID-19 cases, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There are eight cases in Montgomery County, one in Philadelphia county, one in Delaware County, one in Monroe County and one in Wayne County.

“The pandemic has now arrived in the City of Philadelphia,” Farley said.

The city advises residents against attending outings with more than 5,000 attendees, Farley said. This includes sporting events and parades, including the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade this weekend, but the city is not canceling the events. 

Farley does not recommend the closure of Philadelphia schools or universities at this time, he said.

The city is focusing on containing the case, reducing citywide spread of the virus, identifying cases and identifying those who have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient. It will quarantine those who have been in contact with a patient, Farley said. 

“Here in Philadelphia, we expect the number of cases right now is small, but we want to keep it that way, and so we want to be ahead of the curve here and move as quickly as possible to try and reduce that spread,” Farley said.

It is important that Philadelphia residents are informed about the two most common symptoms of COVID-19, a fever and a dry cough, Farley said. If residents are experiencing these symptoms, he said to stay away from others.

The Philadelphia Fire Department is prepared to work with a smaller amount of staff due to the virus, said Adam Thiel, PFD’s fire commissioner.

“We’ve been planning for this for a week, frankly,” Thiel said. “So we have contingency plans for operating with less staff than we expect normally.”

Every city agency also has contingency plans to operate with fewer people, Thiel added.

“Wash your hands frequently, be careful about close contact. If you feel that you do have a fever and you have a dry cough, I’m going to ask people to follow the recommendations of the health commissioner,” said Darrell Clarke, Philadelphia City Council president who represents the Fifth District, which encompasses Main Campus and the surrounding North Philadelphia community.

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